Don Williams
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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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Can Vols beat Gators? Clinton, Bush, Britney, Cormac and Freud weigh in
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   09/20/2002)

Moderator: We've assembled a panel of experts, some in this very room--others through remote hook-up--to answer that perennial question we all must ask each September. Can the Vols beat the Gators?

Bill Clinton: It depends on the meaning of the word "the." I'm convinced individual Vols can beat individual gators. I've seen it happen. But can all "the" Vols beat all "the" Gators? History shows that during my administration Tennessee beat the Gators and went on to win the national championship--1999 I think it was. I'm not responsible for anything that's happened since I left office. So yes, Vols can beat Gators, but will they? That's up to the current administration.

George W. Bush: As long as Saddam Hussein is allowed to flaunt, er, flout, uh, U.N. resolutions, I would say no. No one is safe if he's in power, not even the Vols. This is one more reason in a growing list why we should invade Iraq. If we can get Steve Spurrier out of Florida, surely we can get Saddam Hussein out of Baghdad. One word of advice to Phil Fulmer: Don't be afraid to throw the bomb. Then turn to the ground game.

Ernest Hemingway: We shot the gators at dusk. One still moved, so I picked it up and slapped it against a tree. We stood there watching the gator die, alone and far from home. Carlos built a fire in an open pit then, and we roasted the gator. I drew the cork from a bottle and filled his cup. The old rummy smiled. Then I filled my own. We drank to the gator, and it was good.

Dr. Seuss: The Vols could beat them in the rain./ The Vols could beat them on the plain./ The Vols will beat them here or there./ The Vols will beat them anywhere./ They beat them last year on the road./ Of course they'll win you silly toad.

Janet Reno: If the game were being played in Florida, I would say the Gators would win, because nobody's figured out how to keep score down there. Eventually the Supreme Court might have to name a winner, and I think Florida would have the edge there, but since it's being played in Tennessee, where people know how to count, I believe the Vols will win.

Freud: The fact that you even ask the question betrays a basic insecurity. Tell me, do you ever dream of floating alone at night in dark wet swamps while Mr. Spurrier does strange and funny things with his lips from the shore?

Rush Limbaugh: It's well known I like football--everyone knows I'm a tremendous Steelers fan---still, only some sort of environmental whacko would even ask whether the Vols will beat the Gators. I'm just speaking off the top of my head here, but I think it's a ploy to deflect attention from the real game--this nation's war on terror. I don't think it's out of line to say the liberal media will fill the papers with most anything to ignore it's patriotic duty to report fully all the reasons why we should bomb Iraq. It's the liberal media at work once again folks.

Britney Spears: Will Tennessee win? Gee, who knows. I'm not sure the question is, like, even relevant. It's like asking, oh, for example, is Brittany Spears still a virgin? I mean, who cares whether I'm a virgin, but for some reason people just will not stop talking about it. I mean, why do people keep bringing up my sex life? If I've lost my virginity, I only lost it once, and that's more than Tennessee can say about losing to Florida. I just wish people would shut up about whether I am or ever was a virgin? But enough about me. What do YOU think about my sex life?

Cormac McCarthy: Now in the dusty clockless hours of the town when the streets lie black and steaming in the wake of the watertrucks and now when the last celebrant Vols have washed up with idiot grins and tattered orange banners in the alleys where cats go forth high-shouldered and lean in the grim perimeters here where lightwire shadows make a gothic harp of cellar doors no lizard dares crawl save you.

Victor Ashe: You mean the game's still on? I assumed given the mess TDOT's made of our roads nobody would be able to drive to the stadium. By the way, someone should report them for lack of diversity. All you see are orange cones down the middle of our roads. I'm as big a fan as anybody, but I've had enough of these orange cones. It makes you wonder if they've got UT on the payroll like everybody else. TDOT won't be happy until they've cut down every oak and hickory and made the orange cone the state tree.

Tennessee 37, Florida 16.

Go Vols.